Sue Fear: Australian Climber’s Fatal Fall In Hidden Crevasse On Manaslu

When you hear the word ‘ Fearless, ‘ what does it ring in your mind?’ Isn’t it being brave and not fearing anything? But who is the man-figure that comes to mind for the term ‘fearless?’ Well, there are many prominent figures and pioneers of the word. But if you go into the mountaineering industry and try to discover more about it, Sue Fear does come in the frontline.

Hailing from Australia, Sue Fear was one of the fearless women with notable recognition in the mountain expeditions. People nicknamed her ‘Fearless’ for her unwavering determination to allow herself into the wilderness and treacherous expeditions. She died on Mount Manaslu on May 28, 2006, after falling into a treacherous crevasse.

Nepalese Himalayas are well-known for their treacherous and life-threatening environment. Manaslu, being one of the 8000er mountains, features many such dangers that can take the life of the mountaineers. But Sue Fear was brave enough to take on the challenges.

With one famous quote still singing her bravery, Sue Fear is one of the most fearless female mountain expeditions to have climbed Mount Manaslu.

“Climbing is like rolling a dice – sometimes things fall into place, and you achieve your aim. Sometimes your number comes up.” – Sue Fear

Sue Fear was an extraordinary mountaineer, having relished her life and pleasures. She was fond of music, dances, swimming, and outdoor activities that allowed her to be exposed to the wilderness. From enjoying a beer at a homely party to exploring the great outdoors, Fear cherished all her life moments.

Sue Fear was an extraordinary mountaineer, an exceptional guide, and a cherished friend. She now rests in the Himalayan mountains but is cherished in many unique ways. If you want to know more about Sue Fear, this blog is surely made for you. Please read the full blog until the end to know about her life, career, and the tragic incident that took her precious life.

Let’s explore all of them here!

Australian Climber’s Fatal Fall In Hidden Crevasse On Manaslu

Australian Climber's Fatal Fall In Hidden Crevasse On Manaslu

Sue Fear’s death came as an avalanche to the mountaineering industry. Having experienced mountain and rock climbing for over two decades, she was one of the most celebrated figures in the industry. But it was on the 28th of May, 2006, which became the last day of this mountaineer. The world lost one of the important members of the Word Expeditions family and the good soul.

Nevertheless, she has been all over the mountaineering features, although she has left us for over seventeen years.

Sue Fear was involved in mountaineering and expeditions since her early life. But the Nepalese Himalayas became the graveyard for this experienced mountaineer. She lost her life during her expedition to Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest peak in the world.

Fear embarked on an adventurous expedition with her team in 2006. Tackling the remote and treacherous terrain of the Manaslu region, she reached the lap of the eighth-highest peak. Not only that, she successfully climbed Mount Manaslu (8,163 meters). But who knew what was waiting for Sue Fear? Reports claim that most climbers die while descending from the high-altitude peaks. And the same thing continued with Sue Fear as well.

Sue Fear was happy with her successful ascent over Mount Manaslu and carried out her overwhelmness while descending. However, the treacherous landscape played a negative role in her easy descending, which also became the prime cause of her death. As per reports, she fell into a hidden crevasse while descending from the summit of Mount Manaslu. It was on May 28, 2006, when this mishap occurred, that shook the whole world.

Sherpas Spend Two Hours To Rescue Sue Fear

Sherpas Spend Two Hours To Rescue Sue Fear

Reports cite that the Nepalese Sherpas were involved in the rescue activities more than two hours after the incident. While descending from the mountains, climbers are connected with a rope tied and bound together. So, if one climber falls off the edge of the elevated cliff, there is a high chance that other climbers fall, too.

In the case of the Australian climber Sue Fear, she was tied to one of the Nepalese Sherpa. He later came up with the tragic story, stating that he was shocked and scared after the incident happened. He mentioned spending at least two hours trying to pull her out of the crevasse she fell into.

After several hours of trying, Bishnu Gurung, the Sherpa tied to the Australian Climber, was physically exhausted. Later, he gave up when the crevasse started getting bigger. Sue Fear was unconscious then, so he tied the rope onto his ice axe anchor and left.

Bishnu Gurung reported to the Nepal Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and the details were revealed after a few days of the incident. The report mentioned that they successfully reached the top of Mount Manaslu, and the tragic incident occurred when they descended from the summit.

Sue Fear and Bishnu Gurung spent their night at Camp IV at 7400 meters above sea level. On May 28, they set out for the summit at 3 AM. After the successful summit, they descended from the eighth-highest peak at 11 AM. They had a gap of 10 meters but were attacked by a 30-meter-long rope.

The report further mentions that the weather started changing on Mount Manaslu as the wind speed increased and clouds came in. At the same time, Sue Fear asked Gurung to take the lead. Gurung, who walked down 10 meters ahead of Fear, heard a big noise and saw her falling into the crevasse.

The Nepal Ministry of Tourism and Culture later released a statement regarding the death of Sue Fear. It stated:

“Since they were both on the same main rope, Bishnu immediately … put the brake on with his ice axe as it pulled him. He started yelling ‘Sue Didi, Sue Didi’ and tried to pull her out of the crevasse. She did not reply, and she seemed to be unconscious.”

Similarly, the one-page report, titled Death Report of Susan Erica Fear, Manaslu Golden Jubilee Expedition 2006, stated how Bishnu Gurung spent the next two hours to rescue Sue Fear.

“During (this time), slowly and gradually the crevasse started getting bigger and bigger, and Bishnu, who was exhausted … finally tied the rope on his ice axe anchor and left it.”

Regarding the same mishap, mountaineering officials from Nepal stated that Bishnu Gurung was a very strong and lovely guy who could have saved Fear if he was behind her, but she wanted him to be in front. After the failed rescue, Gurung descended to Camp 1 at 9 pm the same day (May 28).

Sue Fear’s Family Mourned The Death of Sue Fear

Sue Fear’s family was made aware of her tragic death. The family of the Australian Climber was devastated to learn about the untimely death of their daughter in the Nepalese Himalayas. One of Sue’s colleagues confirmed that her family has come to terms with the tragic demise of the mountaineer.

Sue Fear lost her life after falling into the huge treacherous crevasse on Mount Manaslu. However, due to a lack of enough rescue manpower and technical equipment, her rescue went in vain.

Fear was the Fred Hollows Foundation’s ambassador, apart from being a renowned mountaineer. Later, the Charity’s CEO, Brian Doolan, mentioned that Sue had expressed her desire for her body to remain in the mountains in case of such incidents. As a prominent figure in Australia, she was recognized by many people, who later mourned her death.

Doolan stated that Sue Fear thrived on challenges, always overcoming obstacles. Her family echoed these sentiments in a statement, honoring her as a pioneer and Australia’s foremost female mountaineer. With accomplishments like reaching the summit of Mount Everest in 2003 and nearly two decades of service as a guide with World Expeditions, Sue Fear leaves behind a lasting legacy in mountaineering.

Sue Fear Early Life And Background

Sue Fear’s Career Accolades

Sue Fear was 43 when she lost her life on Mount Manaslu. Born in 1963 in St. Ives, New South Wales, Australia, she celebrated her birthday on March 18 every year.

Fear was born to her parents, Ron Fear and Joan Fear. Her mother, Joan, was a cancer victim who lost her life from breast cancer in May 1988. Similarly, her father, Ron, died of a heart attack in June 2002, four years before her death. She grew up in a Christian family with her two brothers, Grahame and John Fear.

As a child, she attended St. Ives North Public School, where she served as the School Captain. In her late academic years, she attended Abbotsleigh School, where she became the Softball captain. Also, she joined Barker College, where she was the School Perfect and Captain of the Girl’s Hockey and Cricket Team.

She was honored with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award during her academic years. Thirteen years after her death, she was awarded another honor during the extension of the ‘Houses’ in Barker College. One of the Houses was named after her ‘Fear House.’

After Sue Fear completed her initial schooling, she started working at an office with Wilderness Expeditions. The company was established by Tim Macartney-Snape, which seeded the passion for the wilderness and outdoor adventures. The company was later acquired by World Expeditions, after which she became a full-time outdoor enthusiast.

She pursued a career as an adventure guide, taking people on cross-country ski trips in Australia and leading treks in Africa, South America, and Asia. Her expertise and leadership skills earned her recognition as one of the company’s senior guides, where she led numerous demanding mountaineering expeditions.


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Sue Fear’s Career Accolades

Sue Fear’s Career Accolades

The outdoor adventure was all over Sue Fear’s blood after she completed her academics. The World Expedition fueled kerosene on her passion for it, which motivated her determination. This led her to enjoy climbing several high-altitude mountain peaks in the world.

Between 1997 and 2006, she climbed five peaks among the world’s fourteen 8000er mountains. She started her climbing career with the first ascent to Makalu II (7,680 meters) in Nepal. She partnered with the Australian Team in Nepal and made the first toss of her climbing career.

After that, several other expeditions came her way, which she took successfully. A year later, she climbed the easiest 8000er peak in the world, Mount Cho Oyu (8,201 meters). Similarly, she followed up with another ascent to Shishapangma (8,046 meters) in 2002.

In 2003, Sue Fear scaled the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest (8,848 meters). Interestingly, she climbed the daring peak from North Col., one of the most challenging routes from the Tibetan Side. She kept the record of being the first Australian-born female and the Second Australian Woman to climb Everest from the North Col.

The following year, in 2004, she successfully climbed Gasherbrum II (8,035 meters) in Pakistan and later climbed Mount Manaslu (8,156 meters) in Nepal in 2006. It was her last climb as she lost her life after falling into the huge crevasse while descending from the mountain.

Noting the unmatching contributions to the Mountaineering industry and philanthropy, Sue Fear attained the award of the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2005. During that time, she worked as the ambassador for Hollows Foundation. Similarly, she would have an eye clinic named after her in Dhading Besi, Nepal, in memory of her climbing accolades. Similarly, there is a plaque standing in the town above Bandipur in the memory of Fear – it faces towards Mount Manaslu, where her dead body lay down to rest.

Moreover, Sue Fear also received the 2003 Adventurer of the Year Award 2003 by the Australian Geographic Society. Also, she served as an ambassador for the Australian Himalayan Foundation. With the organization, she was involved in many philanthropy activities, including helping to raise funds for the Australian Nepalese Medical Group.

Sue Fear was a most celebrated mountaineer and a philanthropist. Her background and career life were portrayed in the book Fear No Boundary: The Road to Everest and Beyond. It was written by a fellow climber, Lincoln Hall (with Sue Fear herself). It was published in Melbourne by Lothian Books in 2005.

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